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A special Mothers Day memory
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Editor, My father, the late Bill Owen used to submit articles to your paper on a regular basis. He passed away on July 3, 2006. For the past several years on Mothers Day he would publish a story regarding a very special Mothers Day he remembered. It would mean so much to me if you could continue this story in his memory to share with others. It was a special day in 1990 when he found his mother’s grave, I believe his story will touch everyone’s heart on this very special Mothers Day.

Becky Chambless

I remember a special Mothers Day
By the Late Bill Owens

I remember Mothers Day 1990 as a very special day. It was on that day, after 56 years, I finally found my mother’s grave and was relieved of decades of doubt.
Let me explain.
My dad, Carl, died of pneumonia on Thanksgiving Day when I was 4-1/2  months old, forcing my 16-year-old mother to move with me, her infant son, from the tenant house to live with my granddaddy, William T., and my step-grandmother, Minnie.
My mother lived there with Poppa and MaMa for the next two years and then she left me. As I grew older, I wondered why.
Some said she had abandoned me. Others said she had gone back to Jordan City, 60 miles away in north Columbus, to help her mother tend to twin infant girls (mother’s sisters) who had been stricken with the flu.
Mother, while there, also contracted the flu and died. I wasn’t yet 3 years old.
About a year later, Poppa died, leaving MaMa and me all alone. Circumstances forced us to move into a one-room building, that had once served as the school my daddy attended. But for the last few years, it had been used as a corncrib by one of the local farmers.
I have two distinct memories of my mother — her rocking me to sleep one night, and attending her funeral at a quaint little country church somewhere north of Columbus.
I remember a Mr. Milner, a friend of the family and owner of one of the five automobiles in Alvaton, carried me to the funeral. I also remember we had a flat tire atop Pine Mountain on the return trip.
Years passed before I had any contact with my mother’s family — cousins who were too young to remember my mother, their aunt.
As I grew older, two questions nagged me, where was mother buried and why did she leave me?
Finally, six years ago, I decided to make a concerted effort to find an answer to the first question and, if possible, to the second though I was apprehensive as to what I might find.
After attending Sunday school in Waverly Hall, I began my search. Then, after riding for hours along the back dirt roads in southern Harris County, I nearly gave up. I thought perhaps I was in the wrong area or the church no longer existed, or my clear mental picture of the church was, after 56 years, only my vivid imagination.
Suddenly, just as I drove down a little hill before entering Highway 27 at Ellerslie, I saw it, there off to my right on the hill, nestled among the white oaks and hickories.
It was just as I remembered it, unchanged after almost six decades.
My heart skipped a beat.
I parked the car and began to examine the grave markers, one by one. The family name was not there, nor was my mother’s maiden name. Disappointed I drove across the highway and stopped at a convenience store. I told the proprietor of my mission. He explained that he was new to the area, and then referred me to the Ellerslie postmistress, who lived nearby. She directed me to another local cemetery, one mile down a dirt road behind her house.
That cemetery was huge. It seemed to cover acres. Though I had no recollection of ever having been there before, I was guided by a hidden hand to the far corner and then to the left, beyond the fragrant white, red and pink wild honeysuckles.
Suddenly, I froze. My whole body seemed to go numb. There, plainly marked, was my mother’s grave. A search of years was over. My doubts were over too. Next to my mother’s grave were two tiny tombstones (mother’s infant twin sisters who had died just one week after mother).
I knelt and prayed, and cried as this burden of doubt was lifted. My mother had not abandoned me. She had gone, like an angel of mercy, to help her mother tend to two dying babies. I know she had not taken me with her because of the risk that I too could become a victim of the killer flu. She knew that MaMa would take care of me until she returned.
After an eternity, it seemed, I arose, walked over to the fence, broke a red honeysuckle, placed it at mother’s headstone, turned and thoughtfully walked away, with no doubts that my mother loved me.

Mothers Day 1990
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